CHATHAM — The Columbia County Fair is planning the return of favorites like the demolition derby, racing pigs, firefighters’ parade, monster tractor pull and the rodeo.

Planning is well underway for the 180th Columbia County Fair this year, which will take place from Sept. 1 through Sept. 6.

Last year’s fair was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time in the fair’s history, said fair director Angelo Nero. This year’s fair will focus on agriculture and an assortment of local musical acts will perform rather than a single headliner.

To meet updated COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York state, there are no current plans to require mask-wearing at the fair, according to a statement from the fair board, but unvaccinated fairgoers are encouraged to do so. Hand-sanitizer will be available throughout the fairgrounds and in restrooms. More specific guidance will be issued closer to the time of the fair, and is subject to change, according to the state Health Department. For the first time, this year’s fair will be a smoke-free zone. Smoking will not be allowed anywhere on the fairgrounds, and only allowed in the parking lot. Bag checks at all entrance gates will continue to be in place, and all bags will be searched. A full list of prohibited items can be found at columbiafair.com

“We’re still looking for people to work this year,” Nero said. “Everyone’s been having problems getting help this year, and just like most people, we’re still looking for more help. If anyone is interested they should give us a call.”

Nero said organizers are continuing to look to fill a number of jobs such as ticket takers and cleaning. Anyone interested in working at the fair should call the fair office at 518-392-2121.

“The grandstand is always packed for the demolition derby, and it holds 750 people,” Nero said. “It’s a very busy act that goes on there for those evenings.”

The Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby will take place Thursday, Sept. 2, and Friday, Sept. 3 (rather than the usual Wednesday and Thursday nights). The Thursday night demo entries will feature 4-cylinder cars, minivans, minitrucks, and miniSUV’s, and Friday night’s demo will feature vehicles with bigger engines, with the 6- and 8-cylinder cars, full-size trucks and vans. The entry fee is $30 per vehicle and entry forms are available at the Columbia County Fair administration office in Chatham, the fair website, and the Stoney Roberts website at www.stoneyroberts.com. A cash prize of $1,400 will be given out both nights, according to the fair’s website.

There will also be an additional competition for the best appearing vehicle for this year’s theme,”Heroes of the Pandemic.”

“It’s exciting to see these cars and what they do,” Nero said. “It’s not dangerous, there’s a lot to it. It’s such a draw, and people just love to see it.”

The School Girl Queen Pageant has been postponed until next year.

Admission includes parking and all entertainment. Daily hours are Wednesday noon to 11 p.m.; and Thursday through Monday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Seniors Day is Wednesday with special pricing at $5 for all patrons. Fairgoers under 18 will be admitted free that day until 4 p.m. Daily admission all other days is $10. Children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets are $8 each and will be available at the fair administration office from July 30 to Aug. 31.

Advance tickets at other local outlets from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31 and will be available at Bank of Greene County branch offices and Price Chopper. Special ride passes will be available at the ride ticket booth across from the cattle area at the North Gate entrance from noon to closing. They will cost $15 the Wednesday and Monday of the fair and $20 all other days.

The full fair schedule and additional information can be found at www.columbiafair.com

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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